The search is on for Northern Ireland’s unsung heroes.

The 2018 Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers have just been launched and judges are looking for who you think best captures the Spirit of Northern Ireland in 2018.

This annual awards ceremony, which will again be televised by UTV, seeks to honour all those who make a difference across Northern Ireland.

Giving recognition

This year organisers want your nominations for who you think deserves a Spirit of Northern Ireland Award, by selflessly serving others and being an inspiration to us all.

The unique Northern Ireland-wide search will give recognition to those whose good deeds have previously gone mostly unnoticed - ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things to help others and people whose uplifting stories of selfless acts will touch the hearts of all who read them.

Eighth year of sponsorship

Specsavers Northern Ireland Chairman, Sean McCauley, said: 'We are delighted to sponsor the amazing Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards for the eighth consecutive year. I know I speak for all of the Specsavers staff across the province that each year we are humbled and inspired by the stories that are received and I’m sure this year will be no different.

'These awards celebrate all that is good about Northern Ireland and gives us the opportunity to champion incredible individuals who are so often modest and quiet about the huge difference they make to other peoples’ lives. Help us to recognise our local unsung heroes by sharing their stories before the closing date in March.”

Ten categories

Judges are searching to honour winners across ten categories in total which are now open for nomination.

This year’s categories are: Unsung Hero, Overcoming Adversity, Spirit of Youth, 999 Hero, Charity Champion, Spirit of Health, Spirit of Education, Caring Spirit Award, Spirit of Sport and a Special Recognition Award.

Win a £150 eye care voucher

Whether for demonstrating a spirit of compassion, neighbourliness, charity, enterprise, courage or devotion, all nominations are welcome.

All those who submit nominations will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a £150 eyecare voucher and a VIP experience at the awards, including an overnight stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, courtesy of Specsavers.

Shane Filan to sing

The grand final for the Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers will take place on Friday 20 April at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast.

Hosting the Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards with Specsavers this year again will be UTV’s Marc Mallett and Pamela Ballantine. With entertainment on the night of the awards from Shane Filan, who was a member of Westlife before launching his own successful solo career.

Nominations

To make a nomination, simply explain in 50-100 words why this person is worthy of a Spirit of Northern Ireland Award and email to spiritofniawards@sundaylife.co.uk or fill in a form available at a local Specsavers store.

The closing date for nominations is Friday 16 March 2018. Tickets for the gala awards ceremony cost £65 +VAT which includes dinner, table wine and entertainment and can be purchased from JComms, Sylvan House, Belmont Office Park, 232-240 Belmont Road, Belfast, BT4 2AW. Please contact on 028 9076 0066 or mail@jcomms.co.uk

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